Thursday, July 21, 2016

West Side Story – Newcastle Musical Theatre Company, Theatre Royal - Review

West Side Story
Newcastle Musical Theatre Company
Theatre Royal
19th Jul 2016

After seeing their last production Sister Act I was very much looking forward to seeing West Side Story and it didn't disappoint.
West Side Story is a tale of love and gangs  which is gripping from start to finish.  The Jets and The Sharks., led by two great leaders Riff played fantastically by Dan Dickinson and Bernardo, Ty Roach Thompson. These two seem to be like ghosts in the second half of the show but their presence is still felt.

The Jets and The Sharks and have a dance this is where our two star crossed lovers meet; Maria who is Bernardo's sister played by the amazingly talented lady, Nikki Cunningham, falls head over heels in love with Tony played by Jamie Douglass.
I would love to take a minute to talk about The Jets because these guys were great and they really made you believe that they could be a gang, we have spoken already about Riff but in every team you need the engine and in the Jets you have Action played amazingly by Simon Pinkney. A-Rab played really well by Jack Hindmarsh, Baby John (Curtis Appleby), Diesel (James Mitchinson), Big Deal (Martin Hampton Matthews), Tiger (Daniel Thomas), Mouthpiece Nathan Denton), Aisling Vallely and Carl Luke who plays Snowball.  The star of the Jets is a girl called Anybodys (It couldn't have been Anybody else) played to perfection by the amazingly talent Beth Johnson who was full of energy throughout the show (and her hair grows back really fast!)

The Sharks comprised of Bernardo,  Anita played by Lauren Gordon, Rosalia played by Helen Cash who brings great comedy to the role, Ellen Crake who plays Velma, JoJo Hatfield who plays Consuela, Kara Ferguson plays Somewhere Girl and Savanna,  and finally the star of the Sharks, Chino played extremely well by Andrew Ewart.
Keeping the two gangs from fighting are four brilliantly actors  Dan Greener as Lt Shrank (and you should have seen the crowd of girls that flocked to him at the stage door after the show)) and the wonderfully talented Joe Costigan playing the delightful Officer Krupke, Noel Harris as Glad Hand and finally Ken Allen is brilliant and deserves great praise for the work he does for the company leading the Junior Section of NMTC.

Taking over as MD this year was Malcolm Moffat who does a great job with the baton with his 18 person band (yes it is that many).
The Crew deserve a mention because a lot of the great work they do goes unnoticed unless there are hiccups! The sound and lighting are great - a few little technical glitches but not enoughto spoil the show.

The Ending! Now some people would say that I have a heart of stone but jeez guys the ending nearly had me in tears (Don't believe anybody who says I was crying, they were tears of joy). I'm not going to ruin the ending but it will make you shed tear or two…
Before I finish I just have to give a shout out and an amazing well done to one lady who has worked on this show and the last 2 shows the NMTC have done - the amazingly talented Sandra Laidler. She has done a brilliant job with all the shows that she has worked on and I wish her all success with Copacabana in 2017. The  NTMC will have their work cut out finding a replacement, although of course she couldn't do it without her amazing production team - Chantal Riley ( Dance Captain), Philip Stockley ( Production Manager) Malcolm Moffat (MD) and Julie Macnaughton ( Accompanist).

Once again I would say that this is one show that will make you laugh and cry and take you on a journey and you will come out feeling better and having seen a great show performed by a great theatre company. This show is amazing and I do want to see it again and I definitely think that you should go down to the Theatre Royal box office and get your tickets before they run out.

It Plays until Sat 23rd July. 

Reuben Hiles

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